Toledo, © Lucian Andrei, Pixabay
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Last summer, I visited several places in Spain and Portugal. During a wonderful road trip, you quickly seek coolness – especially in this time of hot summers – while walking through a city. And yes, it is vacation, but as an alderman with public space and greenery in his portfolio, there is always some professional deformation, even during a vacation. You automatically spot the ideas you can bring back to Eindhoven. But also what makes you think ‘gosh, why haven’t they tackled that here yet’. Sometimes something as simple as enlarging tree pits. In Eindhoven, we are already taking big steps to realize this.

About this column:

The climate is changing and we are all going to notice the consequences, all over the world. There are plenty of plans to prepare for this or even to reverse the process. But what can you, as an alderman of a medium-sized city in the Netherlands, contribute? What is the impact of a climate measure on a local level? Rik Thijs, Alderman Climate & Energy in Eindhoven, takes us through his dilemmas, his choices, and his ambitions once a month.

climate log
You can read the whole series here

While walking through the old centers of, for example, Toledo (Spain) and Evora (Portugal), I noticed a great lack of greenery in the streets. Perhaps due to the historical development and construction of the city, the position of the car, or simply because the ground is not suitable. Fortunately, a park can often be found where we could cool off for a while. However, for the future, that is not enough. Precisely the streets are places where we need to add greenery so that larger green areas are connected and the city does not get too hot. These are also the streets where water flows through cities during heavy rains. It’s a big challenge for old beautiful cities to think creatively about how to add greenery to the city to keep it livable.

Fortunately, there are some cities that are now catching on to this and in this way, are also taking local responsibility for the health of their residents. This summer, a series about this appeared on this platform. With great examples and concrete solutions for water storage, other forms of architecture, and green roofs.

Europe Battling the Heat

50 trees

And what do we do as Eindhoven? There will be over 50 trees on the Demer and Rechtestraat in our city center, we will green stone squares such as Wilhelminaplein and create a park with a flowing Gender in the Victoriapark. If the summers then remain so hot, there will at least be room to cool off in Eindhoven.

Perhaps visitors to Eindhoven from around the world will be inspired by what we are doing to green the city, and share it at home. So maybe in a few years I’ll be sitting under a beautiful tree in the heart of Toledo.